Book of the Year

beautiful ruinsRalph McAllister says this is the 2013 book for a beach read

By Ralph McAllister
Your esteemed editor asked for the one book I would recommend for your must- buy basket at the sales, for the beach.
Well, discounting the brilliant THE LUMINARIES because it is too heavy to perch on your chest amidst the sand,and rejecting THE TILTED WORLD because of the desperately sad story of the 1927 Mississippi floods which might have you worried about tsunamis at Paekakariki,what remains?
Accepting that both these two books have brilliance written all over them,let me suggest that BEAUTIFUL RUINS  by Jess Walter should fit nicely into your bag and hand during this glorious summer.
The story begins in 1962 coastal Italy where a young hotelier sees a Hollywood starlet arrive at his totally inaccessible beach.
He falls in love.
Jump to present day Hollywood and the same hotelier arrives to find his long lost love and instead finds himself involved with sleazy  go-getters on the slippery slide to nonentities, in the film industry.
There is a cameo from Richard Burton as he staggers from his latest burst of passion and alcohol with Elizabeth Taylor in the epic Cleopatra.
Hugely entertaining and richly funny, cleverly juxtaposing  now and then, this novel suggests that Walter is finally gaining the recognition that he deserves.